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Omaha Magazine

Broadway is Back at Orpheum Theater! Cats Delights with Dance

Sep 30, 2021 01:08PM ● By Daisy Hutzell-Rodman
Mr. Mephistophiles in costume from Cats The Musical

Photo Provided

Theater impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber, according to several interviews with the composer, read and enjoyed T.S. Eliot’s work of poetry “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” as a child. It was this book that inspired the composer’s musical Cats, which premiered on May 11, 1981, at the New London Theatre—a show that is definitely a collection of poems created in the 1980s.

This show never fails to thrill audiences, with its large set that resembles an alleyway, jazz-inspired number “Macavity,” and the fan-favorite (if syrupy) ballad “Memory.”

The plot of the show is the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. Plot, however, is a loose term, as each song in the show is its own poem by T.S. Eliot set to Lloyd Webber’s music. This production includes new sound design by Mick Potter, and new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler based on the original choreography by Gillian Lynne. The choreography is one of the best parts of this show—when the actors stretch and pirouette and arabesque onstage, the audience members can see the movements of a cat imitated in the actors.

The show has retained its costume design by John Napier, and that is one area in which this show could use a bit of an update. While the makeup and catsuits create feline approximations, the fluffy leg warmers and belted tails were reminiscent of a Jane Fonda exercise video that probably also came out in 1981.

The all-new lighting design by Natasha Katz is spectacular, especially in the show-stopping synth-pop number “Mr. Mistoffelees,” in which the tuxedo-colored cat’s costume lights in a variety of colors as the cat dances accompanied to the singing of the perfect tom cat known as the “Rum Tum Tugger.”

Cats runs through Oct. 3, and tickets cost $53-$99. Visit ticketomaha.com for more information or to purchase tickets.